Is the SSPX a sect?

Well I was wondering if any of you experienced the SSPX and thought it was a Sect. :confused:
I do NOT want a doctrinal topic nor anything about their canonical position. Only about their ways and so on. Do you think they use ways that sects adopted? :frowning:

That depends on how you are using the term “sect”. They are indeed a group who adhere to the principles of the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically to the Missale Romanum of 1962. In this sense they are a sect of the Roman Catholic Church, just like the FSSP, Institute of Christ the King, and every single monastic society are sects of the larger whole.

However, you say that you don’t want a discussion on the canonical status, which would be impossible if you are using the other definition of “sect”. That definition being “a schismatic or dissenting relgious group; especially one regarded as extreme or heretical”. Considering you want no discussion on their status within the Church, this definition will not be considered while answering your question.

What are you referring to when you say “their ways”?

And what do you mean by “ways that sects adopted”?

I think I should have used the word “Cult”. I’m not sure as my English isn’t my mother tongue. I mean using ways like the J. Witnesses or the Mormons or whatever:

  1. Submission to Leadership -
  2. Polarized World View - The group is all that is good; everything outside is bad.
  3. Feeling Over Thought - Emotions, intuitions, mystical insights are promoted as more important than rational conclusions.
  4. Manipulation of Feelings
  5. Denigration of Critical Thinking
  6. Salvation or Fulfillment can only be realized in the group.
  7. End Justifies the Means - Any action or behavior is justifiable as long as it furthers the group’s goals. The group (leader) becomes absolute truth and is above all man-made laws.
  8. Group Over Individual -
  9. Warnings of severe or supernatural sanctions for defection or even criticism of the cult - This can go so far as to apply to negative or critical thought about the group or its leaders.
  10. Severing of Ties with Past, Family, Friends, Goals, and Interests - Especially if they are negative towards or impede the goals of the group.


Again I’m not criticizing anyone. I’m only wondering if anyone thought the SSPX was using one of these ways.

Tres bien…

Of course they are a cult. A cult, by definition, includes any religous group. So Islam is a cult, Judaism is a cult, Christianity is a cult. And considering they are Roman Catholic, then number 10 of your list could apply in certain circumstances, as well as numbers 6 and 1. However, all Roman Catholics subscribe to the three numbers I mentioned (although number 10 does not always have to be present).

Father Goodwin, FSSP, gave a great talk about how he came to see the majesty of the TLM and his “conversion” to the Tridentine Mass. He was in France at the time and described how the Churches in France were nearly empty during 1989. Anyway, during a walk he stumbled into a church right as the Tridentine Mass was beginning. He went back to the Mass at that church every single day for six weeks. It just so happened that the church was Saint-Nicholas-du-Chardonnet in Paris (which is run by the SSPX). Each and every Sunday this Church is literally packed with people. I am sure I do not have to tell you this, assuming you are French.

Therefore, in Parish, this is honestly one of the only options if you value a respectful and reverent Mass. In the United States though, perhaps a traditional society that has full faculties would be a more prudent choice for Mass.

Pax Domini.

The moderators have made it clear that we cannot call the SSPX a cult. You cannot accurately describe them as a sect. If you do not want to get into their canonical status then I am afraid you will not get a sufficient answer.
It would be like asking why the apple falls but setting the parameter of not bringing up the concept of gravity.

There is nothing intrinsic in the SSPX that marks them as a cult, in the contemporary usage. It is possible that some charismatic personalities in the SSPX might use cult like practices to develop the cult of personality. However, this also happens in the Catholic Church proper. Such situations would be rare exceptions in both cases.


La Société Fraternelle de Saint Pie X n’est pas un culte ou une secte religieuse. Pour dire que la Fraternité Saint-Pie X est une secte constitue une violation des règles de la CAF et irrespectueux.

Si vous avez des questions ou des commentaires, s’il vous plaît contactez-moi par message privé.


The Fraternal Society of St. Piux X is neither a cult nor a sect. Referring to them as either is a violation of CAF rules and disrespectful.

If you have further comments or questions, you may contact me via PM.

Thank you

Thomas Casey

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